Mission: Launch believes in creating pathways for returning citizens to gain self-sufficiency because 1-in-4 Americans has an arrest or conviction record. This statistic means millions are at risk for workforce discrimination and must fight for the right to work. Some of the women and men we engage with in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore, MD region often share their experiences.
We hear stories of individuals:
- Who have applied for hundreds of jobs but never receive a call-back to interview;
- Offered a job opportunity yet are later informed that something in their background check no longer qualifies them; and,
- Hired - eager to show up daily - only to be let go months (sometimes years) later due to a policy or leadership change.
In these cases it becomes critical to identify constructive, legal and creative means towards earning a supplementary or sustainable wage. To this end, Mission: Launch promotes and encourages entrepreneurship for those locked out of the traditional workforce. Entrepreneurship, for many, feels out of reach. It is our belief that the definition can and should be expanded so that women and men can get back on their feet - and stay there. As an organization we are entrepreneurial; we know it takes a great deal of focus, determination, counseling and resources to grow a successful business.
To help us identify the right individuals and support them in becoming successful entrepreneurs we establish strategic partnerships. Our partners help us offer entrepreneurship training, as well as resources to incubate/accelerate startups formed by the formerly incarcerated. This year we are excited to work with the US Small Business Administration and have submitted our proposal to form (what we believe is) the first ever business accelerator for returning citizens!
You can view our pitch video here.
Do you know of a returning citizen entrepreneur? Are you interested in forming a startup even though you have a conviction record? E-mail us: [email protected]